A Hair-Raising Strategy for Generating Cancer Awareness


Dan Flanagan Movember








Eleven months out of the year Dan Flanagan, a partner and financial planner at Framingham-based Canby Financial Advisors, takes pride in his well-groomed appearance.

Which is why many of his clients—as well as his coworkers and friends—were surprised when they recently saw Dan sporting a rather scruffy beard.

“Rough weekend, Dan?” “Getting ready for the playoffs?” “Moving to Maine?” are some of the ribbing he receives with a good-natured grin. He uses these quips as a springboard to explain the purpose for his hair-raising experience: to show support and raise funds for the Movember Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on promoting greater awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer.

Every November he participates in the charity’s month-long “Grow a Mo” campaign. Normally clean-shaven participants grow moustaches or beards to stimulate conversations about men’s health issues and promote awareness of Movember’s wide range of advocacy and education programs. More than a million men around the world have participated in this campaign since Movember’s founding in 2003.

For Dan, the cause is personal.

“My grandfather died of prostate cancer, and I’ve known many men who have survived it. In most cases these cancers can be treated successfully if they’re detected early enough. But too many avoid prostate and testicular exams and only find out they have cancer when it’s too late. Movember is dedicated to raising awareness of these important issues,” he said.

Dan has been “growing his mo” every November for the past five years, and has found his action--or inaction, really--to be highly effective in opening conversations.

“Movember reminds us that while it’s sometimes easy to fix what you don’t like on the outside, taking care of your physical and emotional health requires a great deal of personal commitment. If my growing facial hair for one month a year motivates one man to get a physical exam then it’s well worth the effort,” he says.


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